Today I’m joining in with The Nester to share my UN-word for 2014. The un-word is a word you’re rejecting for the New Year.
I’ve always been a terrible multi-tasker, and guess what? It doesn’t work anyway. What we call multitasking is really just task switching. We can’t do two things at the same time: while we may think we’re doing them concurrently, we’re really only able to toggle back and forth between tasks.
The problem is this kills your productivity–by up to 40%, according to some studies. It also burns up your mental and emotional energy much more quickly than focused work does.
While I’ve known multitasking is bunk for years, you wouldn’t necessarily know it by my habits.
I get caught all too often in the Bermuda triangle of Pinterest-Facebook-Twitter (or Twitter-Email-Instagram, the varieties are endless) when I should be doing focused writing.
But that’s not where I do most of my switch-tasking. While reading The Myth of Multitasking, (ironically, while standing up at my local library, leaning against the biography section while my kids rifled through the paperbacks for new Maisy and Thomas), I realized: it’s the multi-tasking that drives me crazy in our homeschool days.
Some days it feels impossible to get through Lucy’s reading lesson without Silas needing a snack. Or to teach Jack long division without Sarah needing help carrying over. Or, yesterday: to get everyone through breakfast without the dog throwing up on the fireplace.
Although I didn’t use the m-word, we’ve done a lot this year to reduce distractions and improve focus in our homeschool.
But I still do a ton of switch-tasking, and it drains me. (And I don’t really feel like I have the emotional energy to spare!)
My UN-word for the year is multi-tasking. Instead, I’m cultivating focus: in my work, in our homeschool, in our family life.
Wish me luck. And hit me with your tips. I’ll need them.